By Liisa Cohen
Director Jiayan “Jenny” Shitakes takes us on a gripping and intimate journey of devastating loss and the struggle of a grieving family to exist.
Yingying Zhang, a 26-year-old Chinese student, comes to the U.S. to study. In her detailed and beautiful diaries, the aspiring young scientist and teacher is full of optimism, hoping to also be married and a mother someday. Within weeks of her arrival, Yingying disappears from the campus. Through exclusive access to Yingying’s family and boyfriend, “Finding Yingying” closely follows their journey as they search to unravel the mystery of her disappearance and seek justice for their daughter while navigating a strange, foreign country.
“Finding YingYing” is the story of the kidnap and vicious murder of scholar YingYing Zhang. With raw, real footage and the perfection of weaving together Chinese and American cultures, it is impossible to separate oneself from the family’s heart wrenching pain or from the anger of a flawed justice system.
Uncomfortable at times to watch, my teary eyes never left the screen.
“Finding Yingying” just won the Chinese Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Documentary and is now screening in virtual cinemas.